Anthrocide is the official website for D.L. Hamilton, author of several Christian novels and essays.

The Way of Escape

Greg Taylor has a problem. He is crazy about Chauncette Dupree. She is drop-dead gorgeous, provocatively alluring, an amazingly talented singer-songwriter, and the main reason Greg’s band’s success is skyrocketing. She is also an adamant non-believer and everything wrong for him.

Greg’s sister Lisa has a worse problem. Her husband wants to adopt her six-year-old daughter whom he loves dearly, but the child’s biological father–who has never even seen her–is holding up the adoption until the financially-strapped Lisa pays to get him out of a jam. He is even threatening to sue for custody rights.

Chauncette Dupree has the worst problem of all. Her career is in jeopardy as she faces vehicular manslaughter charges for allegedly killing a wonderful family man while driving drunk.

What hope is there to resolve these difficulties? God? Will He intervene, given that they are all problems of the person’s own creation one way or the other?

The Way of Escape, sequel to Hidden in a Field, shows how God works despite the messes we get ourselves into, and even when the aftermath is not always the perfect ending we would want.

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Excerpt from The Way of Escape

Chauncette got in the car and headed toward the Sterling Inn. It was at the opposite end of town, affording plenty of places for her to stop and bend the elbow on the way. Of course, she realized, it would not be good to pick too familiar of a place. Having friends questioning her about the evening’s plans was not what she wanted. What she wanted. She thought about the cruel irony of the phrase. None of this was what she wanted. For that matter, her life was not what she wanted. And it never would be. If she became a famous singer, she would have a whole cadre of people telling her what to do all the time. If she did not make it big, she would be a failure—a nobody—a loser. Somebody that women seemed to just naturally despise and men considered a utensil for gratification. Her life was devoid of love. She could not love and no one loved her. No one. But you do have a Father’s love—an unconditional love that is pure and total.

“Yeah, right,” she said aloud. “Jesus loves me, this I know. What a crock.” Maybe that would be the best answer. To go meet God and be done with it all. Maybe the real problem was that she had survived the accident. If she had been the one killed she could avoid all this and all the future troubles that her past indicated were sure to come. She drove across an overpass. Just whip the wheel hard to the right and sweet peace would be hers. No, I’d probably land on another car and kill even more people. As it is, I’ll bet it’s not peace but Hell that’s waiting for me anyway. Another thing I can’t control. Oh, I’m so lost.

Her eyes welled-up, as a little girl deep inside of her wished earnestly that she could just go back and start over. If only she could have a second chance. God is the God of second chances—of starting over. He can give you a brand new start. She heard Greg’s voice as clearly as if he were in the car with her.

She turned onto Capital Expressway, not at all a direct route to the Sterling Inn. What are you doing? she asked herself. Thinking of Greg made me think of Staley’s, her mind answered. I can get a drink there as well as any place. Since it’s not a bar it’ll make it less likely that I’ll drink too much. She refused to let the next thought—that this was only a flimsy excuse—form. She turned up the CD player for use as a distraction. It only worked for a while, though. Eventually her mind made itself be heard. Who are you trying to kid? You could stop at any of a dozen other places. You want to find Greg. No, not just Greg, Nadine. “Oh, come on, they’re not going to be there.” But what if they are? Would that be a sign of some kind?

A sign? From Whom? You’re not buying into this God baloney are you?

No. But before I off myself could it be any worse to talk to them?

Whatever. They won’t be there anyway.

She actually felt butterflies in her stomach as she pulled into Staley’s parking lot. A surreal, dreamlike feeling swept over her as she exited the car and walked toward the entrance. As she reached for the handle a feeling of final despair hit her. They were not here. She would go in, have a couple of drinks alone, leave and then go to Hell—whether figuratively or literally remained to be seen.

The door hit her hand and jammed her finger as a couple was just coming out.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Greg. “I should be more—Chauncette?”

Chauncette backed away as if reeling from a left hook. Seeing her shock, Greg and Nadine both asked if she was okay. To their amazement she threw herself into Nadine’s arms and sobbed.

“Whoa, did I hurt you that bad?” said Greg.

Chauncette shook her head. “It’s not that.”

“Here,” said Nadine. “Let’s go sit in the car for a bit.”

They all three got into the back seat of Greg’s car, Chauncette in the middle.

“You probably think I’m crazy,” sniffled Chauncette.

“No, not crazy,” said Nadine gently. “Pretty upset but not crazy. What is it, hon? What’s the problem? And how can we help?”

She looked up at the roof of the car and a sigh shuddered through her as she closed her eyes. “You can’t. Nobody can. I should just go. I’m sorry for behaving like this—”

“No, Chauncette,” countered Greg. “Tell us what’s going on. Whatever it is we’ll do everything we can to help. I have a suspicion it might help just to talk about it.”

Nadine added, “We don’t want to be nosy. But something’s really troubling you.”

Chauncette spoke slowly. “I don’t really know where to begin.”

“Take your time. We’re not in any hurry to get anywhere.”

“Tell me something about God.”

Nadine was taken by surprise. “Sure. If we can.”

“Is there really a Hell? I mean, is it a real place with fire and everything?”

“Well, yeah, but there’s no need in anybody going there. The way to avoid it has already been provided.”

“But a person that commits suicide goes there for sure, right?”

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